[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
---- article one ----
Subject: Reports of "Raid" on 2600 Washington Meeting 11/09/92
From: [email protected]
Date: 9 Nov 92 20:51:16 GMT
WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A., 1992 NOV 9 (NB) -- The publisher of
a well-known hacker magazine claims a recent meeting attended by
those interested in the issues his magazine raises was disrupted
by threats of arrest by security and Arlington, Virginia
Eric Corley, also known as "Emmanuel Goldstein," editor and publisher
of "2600 Magazine: The Hacker Quarterly," told Newsbytes that the
meeting was held November 6th at the Pentagon City Mall
outside Washington, DC was disrupted and material was confiscated
in the raid.
2600 Magazine promotes monthly meetings of hackers, press, and other
interested parties throughout the country. The meetings are held in public
locations on the first Friday evening of the month and the groups often
contact each other by telephone during the meetings.
Corley told Newsbytes that meetings were held that evening in New
York, Washington, Philadelphia, Cambridge, St. Louis, Chicago,
Los Angeles and San Francisco. Corley said, "While I am sure that
meetings have been observed by law enforcement agencies, this is
the only time that we have been harassed. It is definitely a
freedom of speech issue."
According to Craig Neidorf, who was present at the meeting and was
distributing applications for membership in Computer Professionals
For Social Responsibility (CPSR), "I saw the security officers focusing
on us. Then they started to come toward us from a number of
directions under what seemed to be the direction of a person with
a walkie-talkie on a balcony. When they approached, I left the
group and observed the security personnel encircling the group of
about 30 gatherers. The group was mainly composed of high
school and college students. The guards demanded to search the knapsacks
and bags of the gatherers. They confiscated material, including CPSR
applications, a copy of Mondo 2000 (a magazine), and other material."
He adds that the guards also confiscated film "from a person trying
to take pictures of the guards. When a hacker called "HackRat"
attempted to copy down the names of the guards, they took his
pencil and paper."
Neidorf continued, "I left to go outside and rejoined the group when they
were ejected from the mall. The guards continued challenging the group
and told them that they would be arrested if they returned. When one of
the people began to take pictures of the guards, the apparent supervisor
became excited and threatening but did not confiscate the film."
Neidorf also said, "I think that the raid was planned. They hit right about
6:00 and they identified our group as "hackers" and said that they knew
that this group met every month."
Neidorf's story was supported by a Washington "hacker" called "Inhuman,"
who told Newsbytes, "I arrived at the meeting late and saw the group being
detained by the guards. I walked along with the group as they were being
ushered out and when I asked a person who seemed to be in authority his
name, he pointed at a badge with his name written in script on it.
I couldn't make out the name and, when I mentioned that to the person,
he said 'If you can't read it, too bad.' I did read his name,
'C. Thomas,' from another badge."
Inhuman also told Newsbytes that he was told by a number of people
that the guards said that they were "acting on behalf of the
Secret Service." He added, "I was also told that there were two
police officers from the Arlington County Police present but I
did not see them."
Another attendee, Doug Luce, reports, "I also got to the DC
meeting very late; 7:45 or so. It seemed like a coordinated harassment
episode, not geared toward busting anyone, but designed to get people
riled up, and maybe not come back to the mall."
Luce adds that he overheard a conversation between someone who had
brought a keyboard to sell. The person, he said, was harassed by
security forces, one of whom said, "You aren't selling anything in
my mall without a vendors permit!"
Possible Secret Service involvement was supported by a 19 year-old
college student known as the "Lithium Bandit," who told
Newsbytes, "I got to the mall about 6:15 and saw the group being detained
by approximately 5 Arlington County police and 5 security guards. When I
walked over to see what was going on, a security guard asked me for an ID
and I refused to show it, saying that I was about to leave. The guard
said that I couldn't leave and told me that I had to see a police
officer. When I did, the officer demanded ID and, when I once again
refused, he informed me that I could be detained for up to 10 hours
for refusing to produce identification. I gave in and produced my
school ID which the police gave to the security people who copied
down my name and social security number."
Lithium Bandit continued, "When I asked the police what was behind this
action, I was told that they couldn't answer but that 'the Secret
Service is involved and we are within our rights doing this."
The boy says he and others later went to the Arlington police station
to get more information and were told only that there was a report
of the use of a stolen credit card and two officers were sent to
investigate. "They later admitted that it was 5 [officers]. While I was
detained, I heard no mention of a credit card and there was no one
Marc Rotenberg, director of CPSR's Washington office, told Newsbytes, "I
have really no details on the incident yet but I am very concerned
about the reports. Confiscation of CPSR applications, if true, is
outrageous. I will find out more facts on Monday."
Newsbytes was told by the Pentagon City Mall office that any information
concerning the action would have to come from the director of security, Al
Johnson, who was not available until Monday. The Arlington Country
Police referred Newsbytes to a "press briefing recording" which had not
been updated since the morning before the incident.
Corley told Newsbytes, "There have been no reports of misbehavior by any
of these people. They were obviously singled out because they were
hackers. It's as if they were being singled out as an ethnic group. I
admire the way the group responded -- in a courteous fashion. But it
is inexcusable that it happened. I will be at the next Washington
meeting to insure that it doesn't happen again."
The manager of one of New York state's largest malls provided
background information to Newsbytes on the rights of malls to police those
on mall property, saying, "The primary purpose of a mall is to sell. The
interior of the mall is private property and is subject to the
regulations of the mall. The only requirement is that the regulations
be enforced in an even-handed manner. I do not allow political
activities in my mall so I could not make an exception for Democrats.
We do allow community groups to meet but they must request space at
least two weeks before the meeting and must have proper insurance.
Our regulations also say that groups of more than 4 may not congregate
in the mall."
The spokeswoman added that mall security can ask for identification
from those who violate regulations and that they may be barred from the
mall for a period of 6 months.
She added, "Some people feel that mall atriums and food courts are public
space. They are not and the industry is united on this. If the malls were
to receive tax benefits for the common space and public service in snow
removal and the like, it could possibly be a public area but malls are taxed
on the entire space and are totally private property, subject to their own
regulations. If a group of 20 or more congregated in my mall, they would
be asked to leave."
---- article two ----
Subject: Secret Service Role Questioned in "2600 Washington Raid" 11/10/92
From: [email protected]
Date: 10 Nov 92 21:03:23 GMT
WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A., 1992 NOV 10 (NB) -- In the aftermath of an
action on Friday, November 6th by members of the Pentagon City Mall
Police and police from Arlington County, VA in which those attending a
2600 meeting at the mall were ordered from the premises, conflicting
stories continue to appear.
Attendees at the meeting have contended to Newsbytes that members of
the mall police told them that they were "acting on behalf of the
Secret Service." They also maintain that the mall police confiscated
material from knapsacks and took film from someone attempting to
photograph the action and a list of the names of security officers
that one attendee was attempting to compile.
Al Johnson, chief of security for the mall, denied these allegations
to Newsbytes, saying, "No one said that we were acting on behalf of
the Secret Service. We were merely enforcing our regulations. While
the group was not disruptive, it had pulled tables together and was
having a meeting in our food court area. The food court is for
people eating and is not for meetings. We therefore asked the
people to leave."
Johnson denied that security personnel took away any film or lists
and further said: "We did not confiscate any material. The group
refused to own up to who owned material on the tables and in the
vicinity so we collected it as lost material. If it turns out
that anything did belong to any of those people, they are welcome
to come in and, after making proper identification, take the
In a conversation early on November 9th, Robert Rasor, Secret Service
agent-in-charge of computer crime investigations, told Newsbytes that
having mall security forces represent the Secret Service is not
something that was done and, that to his knowledge, the Secret
Service had no involvement with any Pentagon City mall actions
on the previous Friday.
A Newsbytes call to the Arlington County police was returned by a
Detective Nuneville who said that her instructions were to refer all
questions concerning the matter to agent David Adams of the Secret
Service. She told Newsbytes that Adams would be providing all
information concerning the involvement of both the Arlington Police and
the Secret Service in the incident.
Adams told Newsbytes: "The mall police were not acting as agents
for the Secret Service. Beyond that, I can not confirm or deny
that there is an ongoing investigation."
Adams also told Newsbytes that: "While I cannot speak for the
Arlington police, I understand that their involvement was due to
an incident unrelated to the investigation."
Marc Rotenberg, director of the Washington office of Computer
Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR), told Newsbytes
that "CPSR has reason to believe that the detention of people at
the Pentagon City Mall last Friday was undertaken at the behest
of the Secret Service, which is a federal agency."
"If that is the case, then there was an illegal search of people
at the mall. There was no warrant and no indication of probable
illegal activity. This raises constitutional issues. We have
undertaken the filing of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
request to determine the scope, involvement and purpose of the
Secret Service in this action," he said.
2600 meetings are held on the evening of the first Friday of each
month in public places and malls in New York City, Washington,
Philadelphia, Cambridge, St. Louis, Chicago, Los Angeles and San
Francisco. They are promoted by "2600 Magazine: The Hacker Quarterly"
and are attended by a variety of persons interested in
telecommunications and so-called "hacker issues."
The New York meeting, the oldest of its kind, is regularly attended
by Eric Corley a/k/a Emmanuel Goldstein, editor and publisher of 2600,
hackers, journalists, corporate communications professionals and other
interested parties. It is known to have been the subject of
surveillance at various times by law enforcement agencies conducting
investigations into allegations of computer crime.
Corley told Newsbytes: "While I'm sure that meetings have been
observed by law enforcement agencies, this is the only time that
we have been harassed. It's definitely a freedom of speech
issue." Corley also that he plans to be at the December meeting
in Washington "to insure that it doesn't happen again."